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Micrometer-Scale 3D Printed Electronics
Keywords: Aerosol Jet, UV Cure, Antenna
Aerosol Jet is a non-contact printing technique capable of patterning a wide variety of electronic and polymeric materials at the micrometer size scale. In the jetting process, a liquid ink is aerosolized and the mist is aerodynamically focused to a micron-scale point on the target substrate. The large standoff distance between the Aerosol Jet tools printing tip and the substrate (>5 mm) enables the additional capability of manipulating jetted particles during their flight to the substrate. Specifically, we demonstrate that UV light exposure during the printing can substantially cure polymeric materials in-flight. This nearly instantaneous curing allows structures to be built up in three dimensions. Aspect ratios of more than 20:1 are achieved with micrometer-scale posts, cylinders, channels, and cones. With robotic manipulation of the print head and target substrate, the 3D features can be fabricated in nearly any orientation including the fabrication of hollow structures such as microbubbles. Furthermore, by co-depositing electronic and polymeric materials it is possible to fabricate hybrid electronics. In this case the polymeric materials serve as the mechanical support for printed metal conductors and other electronic materials. We demonstrate the embedding of circuits into 3D products, including sensors, RF antenna, and power sources.
Kurt Christenson, Senior Scientist
St. Paul, MN

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